Archive for March 13th, 2019

YOKO ONO … WHERE ARE YOU?

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019
Share

Becky picks a shard a decade ago. (Photo: L.A. Cicero)

Yoko, Yoko, where did you go? Yoko, Yoko, where are you? See all those little shards from a shattered Chinese vase in the photo above? I keep one of them in a box on my dresser. As I wrote a decade ago: “Audience members at Yoko Ono’s lecture Jan. 14 were invited to take home pieces of a ceramic vase that was smashed prior to the event. Ono invited everyone to return in 10 years to reassemble the vase.”

But wasn’t she going to join us? She spoke about the Imagine Peace Tower, she set up a “wish tree” in front of the Stanford post office, and she smashed a vase. And … and … and …

She broke her word! She never returned!

I have witnesses; plenty of them. The brown-haired woman with glasses in the photo above is Elizabeth “Becky” Fischbach, exhibition designer and manager for of Special Collections at the Stanford Libraries. She’ll remember, too, and vouch for me. So will the Stanford photographer who took the picture, Linda Cicero, who has snapped so many of the Book Haven photos.

“She’s one of the most original and creative artists of our times,” said Stanford history Professor Gordon Chang, who introduced Ono before her talk, titled ‘Passages for Light.’ Citing her work as a writer, artist, performer, activist, composer, musician and filmmaker, Chang said that “in each area, she has broken boundaries, expanded horizons.”

“Ono was once one of the most hated women in the world; now the effervescent and indefatigable 75-year-old activist is a celebrated icon,” I wrote. She just turned 86 on February 18. But that is no excuse. I’m not exactly a spring chicken, either.

With Gordon Chang. (Photo L.A. Cicero)

It all came back to me when I happened to stumble across my “Imagine Peace” button in a box recently, a reminder of our interview and her visit:

What do you hope to accomplish with the Imagine Peace Tower and the wish trees?

“It’s growing, and it is doing what I hoped that it would do. Many, many wishes are being made and they are being sent to the Imagine Peace Tower. There’s an incredible power of people’s wishes that are concentrated in the Imagine Peace Tower. Also, light has the same vibration as love. The light that’s in the Imagine Peace Tower—which is the Imagine Peace Tower—I think many people are enjoying it, somehow, feeling part of it.”

Together at last.

What would you say to critics who say these works are too—

“I know. People say it is too simplistic, or whatever. Some people say, “Oh well, maybe when you get older you want to do something simple.” I thought that was ageist. My work was always minimal. Minimalism—I believed in that. It was always very simple. I think it is as simple as breathing. Breathing is very important. I don’t feel that that’s bad. I was very surprised myself that the wish tree has become so important in people’s lives. I’m very honored that I was used for that, instead of some very complex, highfalutin work. Sometimes something simple gives more to people.”

Or did she make a silent incognito visit and we all missed it? Did she drift among us wordless and invisible like a shade. I’m sobbing and clinging to my shard as I think about it, tears dripping on my Imagine Peace button. I’ve waited for ten lonely years. Does everyone else still have their shard? Becky?

Yoko, Yoko, come back! We need you!